It's natural to think – the more eyeballs you get, the more money your app will make.
But developing for multiple platforms can be expensive and risky.
However, there is an easy and safe way to decide whether you should develop your app for Apple, Android, or BOTH.
In this post you will learn which app store to publish to and when it's time to expand your app to a new platform.
Apple or Android?
Before you start thinking about developing an app, you need to do your homework.
Specifically, you need to know:
- what type of device your customers use
- how they find apps
You should be able to fill in the blanks below:
My customer uses a ________ device and finds apps by ________.
There are 3 fast and easy ways to collect this data:
1. Facebook Audience Insights is a free tool to help marketers learn more about their target audiences. Using Facebook Audience Insights we can find our what type of device our customers use, the OS their device is running, and if they prefer using a mobile device over a computer.
2. Survey your audience with Google Forms. Submit forms to email lists, social groups, and in person to learn more about your customer. Google will aggregate the data for free and make it easy to understand.
3. Ask your competition. There is no better source to learn from than your competition. Offer praise, ways to improve their app, and even payment in exchange for consultation.
The biggest mistake people make is jumping into a project with NO DATA. A hunch is not good enough to make money with apps. You need proof.
Start with Apple
Unless you have overwhelming data suggesting otherwise, always start with Apple.
1. You will make more money.
The Apple App Store is the preferred destination for app downloads, and according to App Annie's latest report, generates almost twice the revenue of Google Play.
2. Apple is more intuitive and accessible to work with.
The Apple developer program, support, and resources available are far more abundant and helpful then what you will find with Android.
Plan Your App's Growth – When is “When” to go Cross-Platform?
One of the biggest hurdles is knowing WHEN to expand and introduce your app to a new market.
Most indie developers never explore other markets and miss out on thousands of dollars.
Others overspend on secondary markets and lose a fortune.
In order to avoid risks in wasting time and money in a new market…
Make sure your app is ROI positive. Your revenue should be peaking and you should have the funds for development.
Make sure there is a demand for your app on the new platform. Are people emailing or messaging you on Facebook to create an Android version of your app? If your support and social media channels are quiet, it's too early to consider expanding your app to another platform.
Make sure you have exportable systems in place. Do you have clear documentation your developers can follow so they can take any app in your portfolio, port it to a new platform, and publish it without bugging you for information? Your company's Master Guide should cover where codes are stored, how to find third party IDs used in apps, and how to handle support.
Make sure you will devote yourself and stay motivated with your growth plan. If you're expanding to the Android market, you owe it to your users and yourself to deliver the best experience possible in the short and long run. Don't invest time and money into unless you're excited!
Follow the money & Energy
Always stay focused on what will make the most money and keep you motivated. If there is more money to be made with your iOS app, start working on an update!
If your app is successful enough that you can justify investing in porting it to a new market, do it!
For my personal projects, I created The 10% Rule. Here's how it works…
Step 1: Calculate the total generated revenue from your app
Step 2: Get a quote for the costs to port your app onto another platform
Step 3: Justify if the development costs are worth an overall 10% increase in sales
If it's likely I will recoop my investment in a 4 month period through earning an additional 10% of my overall revenue, I approve development work.
If development costs are too high to justify a 10% gain, I hold off.
My apps usually see a 20% increase in total revenue when I migrate an Apple app to Android but I use The 10% Rule as a safety-net so I can calculate if my investment is worth the risk.
Don't be afraid to make the jump and publish on a new platform! Every platform has Pros & Cons, but diversifying your investment and getting more exposure is never a bad thing.